Virgin Media reveals plans to support people, the planet and communities
Virgin Media has unveiled a comprehensive five-year plan that sets out how the company will continue to support and connect communities across the UK, reduce its impact on the environment and be a more inclusive employer.
As part of the strategy, Virgin Media will use its connectivity and presence in towns and cities across the UK to support projects that address loneliness and create greater community belonging. It will also take steps to employ more people from underrepresented groups, and is committing to achieve net zero carbon operations and zero waste operations by the end of 2025.
Virgin Media’s customers and employees had their say about the role that the company should play in society over the next five years. This led to the Meaningful Connections Plan.
One of the main things that customers and employees wanted to see was Virgin Media using its purpose, people and products to bring communities together to address the issue of loneliness. Research shows that more than 40% of people said that community wellbeing is more important to them as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Virgin Media’s research also found that more than 20% of its 5.6 million cable customers in the UK is an unpaid carer – and 58% of them reported feeling lonely or isolated. Virgin Media has joined forces with Carers UK to find ways to use technology and innovation to address the loneliness that unpaid carers experience.
“We know now more than ever millions of people are looking after someone and through this partnership we aim to reach them sooner and create better connections so that they are supported, leading to a reduction in loneliness and isolation,” Helen Walker, CEO of Carers UK, said. “As Carers UK also embarks on our new five-year strategy this partnership really underpins our ambitious plans to make life better for carers – we can’t wait to get started!”
1.5 million people meaningfully connected
Virgin Media has set a goal to connect 1.5 million people to their communities and to each other over the next five years. Using digital technology, innovation and the power of its people to support carers and communities, Virgin Media is on a mission to create meaningful connections.
This includes helping one million carers to access more digital services and platforms to build support networks and friendships; collaborating with community groups to provide skills, training or funding; and using Virgin Media’s network or local workers to support projects that create a greater sense of community belonging.
Virgin Media is increasing the number of annual paid volunteer days its employees receive to five – the equivalent of around 450,000 hours per year across its workforce of 12,000 people. Workers will be encouraged to take time regularly to support projects – either in-person or digitally – that build meaningful connections in their own community.
Virgin Media is stepping up action to tackle climate change – with a goal of achieving net zero carbon operations and zero waste operations by the end of 2025.
The broadband provider is aiming to become more energy efficient, cut emissions, source renewable power supply and reduce waste by increasing the reuse of materials across its products and operations. This includes using at least 75% recycled plastic in set-top boxes and routers; reusing or recycling all equipment and mobile devices that customers return; and using 100% recyclable packaging with no single use plastic.
Virgin Media has also signed up to the Media Climate Pact, an industry-wide initiative where it will use its TV platform to promote programming that highlights the effect of climate change to help educate and inform viewers.
A culture of belonging
Virgin Media is continuing to take steps to become a more inclusive employer. It wants all of its people – no matter their background – to be themselves at work and achieve their potential.
This includes creating hundreds more employment opportunities for people from underrepresented groups, and ensuring projects and products are equitable and are developed with all of its people and customers in mind.
“A diverse business is a better business. It’s critical to our growth that we have a culture where no-one is left behind and all of our people feel valued, heard and can be themselves,” Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media said. “We’ve already taken action to create greater representation across Virgin Media, and will use this momentum to drive further positive change to become a more inclusive company.”